Matthew Amengual

Matthew Amengual

Associate Professor in International Business


Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street
Oxford
OX1 1HP

Profile

Matthew Amengual’s areas of expertise are in the political economy of development and global labour standards. 

His work explores the politics of promoting economic development that is both equitable and sustainable. Matthew’s research is rooted in comparative political economy and focuses on regulation, Latin American politics, and global labour standards.

His first book, Politicized Enforcement in Argentina: Labor and Environmental Regulation (Cambridge University Press), asks the question: Why do states enforce regulations in some places, and in some industries, but not in others? It develops a framework for analysing enforcement in middle-income and developing countries, showing how informal linkages between state officials and groups within society allow officials to gain the operational resources and political support necessary for enforcement.

He is currently writing a book tentatively titled Direct Contestation that develops a theory to explain different outcomes that arise when firms face demands by societal actors unmediated by state institutions.  Empirically, this book draws on mixed-method analyses of mining operations in Bolivia and Peru.  Beyond its theoretical contribution, this work will inform strategies employed by various actors to make large projects, such as extractives operations, more likely to foster inclusive local development. 

Matthew also has an active research agenda on the ways in which labour standards are enforced in global supply chains. He is currently studying how lead firms integrate sourcing and labour compliance when structuring their relationships with suppliers. This research builds on previous work he conducted on developing country firm preferences for labour regulation and the interactions between international and state labour regulation. 

His research has been published in World Development, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Regulation & Governance, and Politics & Society. He is currently an Associate Editor at the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Prior to joining the Saïd Business School, Matthew was an Associate Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Matthew received his AB in environmental studies from Brown University, and his Master’s in city planning and PhD in political science, both from MIT.

Research

Matthew's current research examines global labour standards and the political economy of direct contestation.

Matthew has studied enforcement of labour standards for the past decade. His book, Politicized Enforcement in Argentina: Labor and Environmental Regulation, published with Cambridge University Press, constructs a theory to explain why states enforce standards in some industries and places, but not others. He has also studied firm preferences for labour regulation and how transnational regulation influences domestic regulatory institutions. He is currently conducting research on private regulatory standards that operate through global supply chains. This work explores the challenges that multinational firms face when integrating social compliance into their core business practices.

Matthew is currently writing a book on direct contestation that is characterised by societal demands for redistribution and regulation on firms that are largely unmediated by state institutions. Empirically, this study focuses on mining projects in Bolivia and Peru. Matthew combines household survey data with interviews with the managers, community leaders, and state officials to develop detailed accounts of evolving interactions between firms and societal actors. The analysis reveals sharp variation in the outcomes that result from direct contestation, ranging from clientelism and to public goods provision and inclusive distribution. The book develops a theory to explain this variation that hinges on the interaction between social structures and firm strategies for mitigating risk. 

Engagement

Matthew regularly collaborates with international organisations, NGOs, governments, and firms on research projects.

Matthew is an active member of the academic community of scholars who study comparative political economy, labour relations, and the politics of Latin America. He is an Associate Editor of the leading labour journal, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. In addition, he has contributed to the organization of international conferences for the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and the Latin American Political Economy Research Network (REPAL). 

Teaching

Matthew teaches classes on global business and sustainability.

Matthew’s aim is to equip students with frameworks that they need to understand and respond to novel challenges in the global economy. 

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